The Art of Serving in Pickleball: A Game-Changing Technique


Serving in pickleball is often an underestimated aspect of the game but holds immense importance in determining the outcome of a match. The unique rules and techniques involved in serving make it a skill that players must master to score and win. In this article, we will explore the various serving rules, the significance of serving, and advanced serving techniques that can elevate your pickleball game.

The Key Rules of Serving

To begin with, players must serve from behind the baseline and either on the left or right side of the center line. It is crucial for the server to call out the score and serve the ball diagonally across the court, aiming it into the service area. All serves must be underhand and below the waist. Furthermore, the ball must not land in the non-volley zone or touch the line at the front of the service area. These rules dictate the flow and fairness of the game, ensuring equal opportunities for both teams.

Unique Rules for Singles and Doubles

In singles, each player serves until they lose a point, and they must switch the side they are serving from after each serve. If the score is even, the player serves from the right side, while an odd score necessitates serving from the left. Doubles, on the other hand, follow a more complex set of rules. Each player on a team gets a chance to serve before the serve switches back to the opposing team. Player positions and rules about which player serves first and from which side can be complicated, and it is often best to learn from more experienced players on the court.

The Two-Bounce Rule

Pickleball has several unique rules designed to maintain balance and add excitement to the game. One such rule is the two-bounce rule. According to this rule, both the serve and the return from the serve must be groundstrokes. After the serve and the first return, players are then allowed to volley the ball. Understanding these rules enables players to strategize effectively and make calculated shots, maximizing their chances of winning.

What is a “Let” in Pickleball?

In pickleball, a “let” is when a rally is redone for any reason. Typically, a let occurs when something outside the game interferes with play. It can also occur during a service if the ball hits the net and does not go over. Faults are counted if the ball hits the net on a serve and does not cross over or if it lands outside the service court. Familiarizing oneself with the concept of a “let” is essential for fair play and a proper understanding of the sport.

Steps on How to Serve in Pickleball

Mastering the art of serving requires a step-by-step approach. First, positioning yourself correctly based on whether you are playing singles or doubles is crucial. Next, calling out the score and determining your serving strategy are vital aspects. It is essential to compose yourself, have a routine, and drop the ball without throwing it up. The serve itself should be an underhand swing in front of your body, followed by a smooth follow-through. Being prepared for your opponent’s return is equally important to maintain control in the game.

Advanced Serving Techniques

To enhance your pickleball game, exploring advanced serving techniques can be game-changing. Three main serve types stand out: the high-soft serve, power serve, and soft angle serve. The high-soft serve involves hitting a high arc deep into your opponent’s court, keeping your opponent guessing and off balance. The power serve, low and fast, aims to catch your opponent off guard and exploit their weaknesses. The soft angle serve drops near the kitchen line and sidelines, forcing your opponent out of position. By mastering these advanced serves, players can keep their opponents on their toes and secure an advantage on the court.

Serving Aces and Spin

Serving an ace in pickleball requires a combination of finesse and strategic play. Soft, short serves draw opponents forward, creating opportunities for power serves aimed at their feet. Additionally, using spin on the ball, albeit limited in pickleball, can create additional challenges for opponents. However, a consistent practice regimen is essential to effectively implement these techniques and avoid missed opportunities during games.


Serving in pickleball is a crucial skill that can immensely impact your performance on the court. Understanding the serving rules, practicing different techniques, and developing a serving strategy based on the game situation will significantly enhance your chances of success. As you continue to play and improve, incorporating advanced serving techniques will further elevate your game, keeping opponents guessing and securing vital points. So, practice, strategize, and master the art of serving to become a formidable pickleball player.

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